My name is Gigi, and my Chinese name is Meizhi Zheng, which translates to “a branch of a plum tree.” As a child, I disliked my name because no girl wants to be called a “branch.” However, since my mother gave me this name, I dared not to change it. My mother worked hard all her life as a grassroots female worker in the factory until she retired. She did not expect much from me but only asked me to grow up, marry, have children, and have a secure life. So she didn’t deliberately cultivate me, build a network of relationships, and pave the way for me.
But growing up, I realized I was ambitious and did not want to spend my entire life working in a factory like my mother. I studied and worked hard. Although my mother could not provide for me to attend a regular university, I continued to study part-time after graduating high school. I completed junior college and undergraduate courses in China. I also tried establishing connections outside my small circle to change my destiny.
Despite my efforts, the high walls of life were impossible to climb, and I lacked support and connections. I became discouraged and numb, and I started to believe what my mother believed – women should only focus on their lives and marry and have children.
Since then, I have “sincerely” believed in Buddhism, worshiped their idols, and recited Buddhist scriptures. I thought their teachings were not superstition but the truth. I even used Buddhist scriptures to teach others who wanted to seek god. Of course, it’s ridiculous to think about it now. But in this way, many years have passed. I got married, had children, and immigrated to the United States.
As a new immigrant, I had to leave behind everything I had in China, including my mother. On top of that, I faced many practical issues, such as paying rent, bills, and tuition fees for my children without any support. It was a huge adjustment from my home country, and at times, I questioned if immigrating was the right decision. In addition, my husband and I had arguments due to financial difficulties and psychological barriers. However, I’m grateful that he is a hardworking person who did his best to support our family, and I did the same. While juggling various responsibilities, I took the initiative to learn English and also completed some early childhood education courses to continue the career I had started in China.
In 2014 and 2015, while in Chinatown, Oakland, my family and I were given leaflets promoting Easter activities by the Church of God in Oakland. Unfortunately, I lost the first flyer I received in 2014. But when I received it again in 2015, there seemed to be an inside voice reminding me, “Don’t lose this leaflet now.” At first, I hesitated to go and wondered if people would think I was greedy. However, I eventually attended the event with my son, and it turned out to be a wonderful experience. The church was well organized, and the members were welcoming and enthusiastic. Most importantly, my son enjoyed it! They encouraged me to continue to bring my son to church. As a result, I started sending my son to church, and eventually, I was introduced to the gospel and began to believe in Jesus.
When I first considered accepting the Lord Jesus, I struggled with feelings of betrayal towards my original beliefs, causing me to hesitate. As I listened to the gospel, I found myself questioning the authenticity and effectiveness of God, even attempting to compare the God of Christianity and Sakyamuni of Buddhism on the same level. However, I was grateful that the brothers and sisters in the church did not mind all of the questions I asked, and they welcomed me with open arms. They prayed for me, studied the Bible, discussed history and geography, and presented scientific evidence. They helped me understand that Jesus truly existed, that God is real, and that He is the only true God. Eventually, I was touched by God and the love of my fellow believers, which led me to decide to follow the Lord Jesus. In early 2018, I accepted Jesus as my savior and was baptized in 2021.
During my eleven years of living in the United States, I have been blessed by God’s company for eight years. My husband and I still work tirelessly to ensure a stable income and cover our family’s expenses during this time. As a mother, teacher, and student, I have had to wear many hats. Teaching my children has become more challenging as they have grown older. However, I am grateful that God has always been there to listen to my prayers. He has taught me that with faith, nothing is impossible in the Lord. God’s grace and blessings have sustained me, allowing me to confide in Him during difficult times and lay my burdens before Him. Now that I have God in my life, He guides me through one obstacle after another, and I face challenges fearlessly without relying on others. I am thankful for the voice that urged me not to lose the flyer, the sister who invited me to church activities, the brothers and sisters who shepherded me, and most importantly, God, who has always supported and uplifted me. Amen.
And these are my favorite Bible verses:
“Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.” (Romans 5:3-5)
我是Gigi, 中文名字是鄭梅枝。從小我就不喜歡這名字，因為沒有女孩子的名字只是一條樹枝，所以一直不敢大膽大方的 向人介紹自己的名字。名字是母親起的，也就不敢告訴她不喜歡。母親一生勞碌，她沒怎麼上過學，在工廠裡做基層女工直到退休。她對我也沒什麼期望，但求我安安穩穩的長大成人，結婚生子就算了。所以她並沒有刻意栽培我，搭建關係網，給我鋪好前路。可偏偏我卻是一個心比天高的人，不希望像母親那樣一生在工廠裡度過。總覺得只要讀好書，勤奮點，在外面多認識些有能力有權勢的人，就能改變自己的命運.
「不 但 如 此 ， 就 是 在 患 難 中 也 是 歡 歡 喜 喜 的 ； 因 為 知 道 患 難 生 忍 耐 ，忍 耐 生 老 練 ， 老 練 生 盼 望 ；盼 望 不 至 於 羞 恥 ， 因 為 所 賜 給 我 們 的 聖 靈 將 神 的 愛 澆 灌 在 我 們 心 裡 。」 (羅馬書 5:3-5）